Learn the best practices for using exit-intent popups to engage visitors who are leaving your site and increase conversion rates.

Imagine that your website could detect when a visitor was just about to leave. What could your business do with that information? Would you beg them to stay? Would you sweeten the deal? Would you ask them why they are leaving?

Right now, exit-intent technologies can detect when your visitors are about to hit the back button, close their browser, or navigate away. Then popup dialog is presented to them, a last-ditch message to get their business.

Are you using exit-intent popups? If not, you are leaving money on the table—quite a lot of money, actually. Exit-intent popups are known for several years now but it’s still a hot topic of conversion optimization.

In case you haven’t heard of them before, let’s summarize quickly what are they.

They are the popups that appear the very moment you move your mouse to leave a page. They are “overlay popups,” and cannot be blocked by popup blockers.

Here is an example:

This exit-intent popup teases a free eBook.

This exit-intent popup teases a free eBook.

Why Should You Use Exit-Intent Popups?

Exit-intent popups give you a “second chance” at communicating something important to your visitors before they leave your site. According to data, 10 to 15 percent of lost visitors can be “saved” by using exit-intent popups. In other words, between 10 to 15 percent of visitors leaving your site will respond to a well-crafted message.

Exit-intent popups are the most customer-friendly approach to communicate a special message to your visitors. They are superior to normal popups because they don’t interrupt your visitors while browsing or scanning your site; they only appear when your visitors start to leave your site altogether or switch to another window.

So how can you maximize the ROI of your exit-intent popups?

1. Email List Generation

One of their most effective uses is to grab email addresses by offering an incentive to subscribe. Naturally, the conversion success of email collecting popups depends upon the effectiveness of the copy and the offer.

Exit-intent popups can be used to grow your email list.

Exit-intent popups can be used to grow your email list.

According to data from OptiMonk, a simple popup like this converts between three and five percent on an average content or ecommerce site. To achieve this level of performance requires no preparation, and you can install the popup on any page.

You can increase a popup’s effectiveness significantly by offering an eBook or other “hook” as an incentive. In such cases, a popup can easily convert up to 15 percent:

Informational offers can turn 15 percent of abandoners into leads.

Informational offers can turn 15 percent of abandoners into leads.

You can also boost your results by gamifying your message. A lucky wheel popup can not only increase your conversion rate and coupon usage rate, but it also enhances your user experience: everyone loves to win, and it will give shoppers a reason to remember your store.

A lucky wheel can create a new, fun and interactive subscription experience on your site.

A lucky wheel can create a new, fun and interactive subscription experience on your site.

2. Recover Abandoned Cart Instantly

E-commerce sites should use exit-intent popups for instant cart-recovery. Since cart abandonment is about 70 percent, exit-intent popups can potentially save a lot of lost revenue. The best method of conversion during checkout is to offer visitors an incentive to finish the order on the spot, such as a price discount or free shipping.

Exit-intent popups can sweeten an offer and save a sale.

Exit-intent popups can sweeten an offer and save a sale.

This type of popup usually converts around 15 percent, especially if you turn off the email capture, though you should follow up with these users later by email, since only about 5 to 15 percent will use their coupons immediately.

3. Redirect Traffic to Other Content

The most common usage of exit-intent popups is to redirect traffic to other content on your site. In effect, it responds to your visitors attempts to leave by saying, “You find this content boring or irrelevant? No problem. Check this out, instead.”

You can even use it on landing pages, to give yourself a second chance to hook visitors who are not converting on your landing page.

In this example, the site owner promotes a webinar on his site:

Redirect visitors who are about to leave to something that may be more relevant.

Redirect visitors who are about to leave to something that may be more relevant.

E-commerce sites can use this method by showing alternative offers to visitors not interested in buying the current products. Content sites can use it to promote other content the reader may prefer.

Content redirection popups can convert up to 25 percent.

4. Keep It Simple

The most important rule of every exit-intent popup is to keep it simple. Don’t try to stuff too much content into one popup. Less is more. People leaving your site are often already overwhelmed by its contents; they may be unable (or unwilling) to understand complex messages. So, make sure your headline tells your visitors immediately what benefit they will receive.

The look of your popup is also important. Try to use a simple and clear design that matches to your website. Since you only have a few seconds to get visitors attention, you should always use readable fonts.

One large tagline, one sub-headline, and some visual reinforcement of the offer should be enough, 99 percent of the time.

Don’t forget that the look of your popup is just one thing, but if your offer is not good enough, you won’t succeed. Always add a relevant offer and try to focus on pain points. Adding a sense of urgency always makes popup more effective since it helps to overcome procrastination. Here’s an article if you want to learn more about creating a good exit-intent popup.

5. Speed Matters

When we say that an exit-intent popup appears at the very moment the visitor moves the mouse out of the window, this means that the popup appears a few milliseconds later—and the amount of time, no matter how miniscule, does matter. You have less than 200 milliseconds to show the visitors your message before they actually click on the X button. In fact, you should decrease this lag to less than 50 milliseconds.

How can your popup respond so quickly? First, it is important to preload the popup content. Loading in real-time takes longer than 200 milliseconds. Preloading takes technical know-how, but the best exit-intent popup software has already solved this issue.

You should refrain from using special effects on these types of popups. Such displays look cool, but they increase the amount of time required to display the popup, as well as the time needed for visitors to comprehend the message.

6. Always Test Copy

The same rules apply to exit-intent popups as to any other webpage or landing page—always test the copy. For example, in this test, changing only the tagline of the offer resulted in a 47 percent increase in conversions.

Test your copy to get even more lift from exit-intent popups.

Test your copy to get even more lift from exit-intent popups.

7. Start Today

My last piece of advice is to start NOW. You are losing customers every minute.

The easiest way is to register at www.optimonk.com/register, and learn about our exit-intent popup solution. We can help you create effective exit-intent popup campaigns as easy as ABC.


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Csaba Zajdo

Ecommerce Specialist and Founder at OptiMonk
Csaba Zajdo is an ecommerce specialist, founder of OptiMonk and several other projects specializing in conversion. OptiMonk is an award-winning onsite retargeting platform, which helps small and medium-sized businesses leverage the power of onsite retargeting. If it has to do with conversion optimization and eCommerce, Csaba is interested. He’s always looking for the best and brightest and he’s constantly on the lookout for game-changing solutions. Csaba has been involved with web marketing including search, lead generation, e-commerce, CRO, PPC, and analytics for over 10 years. He is also a frequent presenter at seminars and conferences. Blog: http://www.optimonk.com/blog/

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56 replies
  1. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Thanks for the tips! I have only started using exit intent widgets a couple of month ago. My live chat provider, Visitlead, started offering them so I gave it a try and I have to say that it is just great. I haven’t exactly measure the improvement in my conversions yet but I am very happy so far.

    Reply
  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    I don’t understand. I probably see these popups 10-15 times a day for the last 3 years. I’ve *NEVER* signed up for a newsletter using them. Wait, if they popup withing 2 seconds of me seeing the website for the first time, they get filled with an email address thats going to bounce. I’m still trying to find Firefox plugins that will block the browser from telling the website where my cursor is on the screen.
    And Cart Abandonment? If it becomes known that all you have to do is abandon a cart to get a discount, its going to get done even more often. I’ve purposely left just seeing if I can get a further discount by walking away.

    Reply
    • Brian Massey
      Brian Massey says:

      Everyone complains more about popups. In test after test, they work. And, there are few retailers who will complain about losing 10% for those transactional buyers who love a discount. You, Matt, are a small percentage of the marketplace.

      Reply
      • christina thomas
        christina thomas says:

        Excellent point. Never ceases to amaze me how people will opt for anecdotal “evidence” over the actual, verifiable stats on what works. This holds them back time after time in my professional field. We recently started using popups on our Mens fashion and have experienced better than moderate success.

        Reply
        • Brian Massey
          Brian Massey says:

          In fairness, we’ve only really had these tools for a few years, so people are still catching up. Surf the web, though, and you’ll see that popups are everywhere.

          Reply
  3. Sanjay Sawant @Firecart
    Sanjay Sawant @Firecart says:

    Exit Intent popups are mostly used by eCommerce websites to retain their visitors on the website and help them to explore more on the website. By providing a huge discount through a popup can help visitor to take action and increase the revenue. Such popup help to reengage the visitors and also help to decrease the bounce rate of the website.

    Reply
      • Sanjay Sawant @Firecart
        Sanjay Sawant @Firecart says:

        Well, Brain I recommend to show time tracking popup on top performing pages, such popup will eventually give your satisfactory results.
        And for exit intent can you share, which exit intent design you have been using for your ecommerce website. Testing with multiple design can help you choose faster.

        Reply
  4. Al
    Al says:

    Like Brian I’ve seen popups that either kill it, don’t do much or make conversion rates worse.
    Slamming an exit intent solution on a site and then hoping for the best isn’t the right exit intent strategy.
    The best (credible) results come from brands that a) test multiple designs, execution points and purposes b) go smarter (i.e. not showing a newsletter signup popup to someone who has already signed up, not showing a discount to someone who has already entered it or used it) and c) do their maths before hand so they don’t end up with increased conversion rates, but a lower margin.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  2. […] popups have been proven effective for many reasons. Studies show that they help improve website conversions by 10-15%. This is because they allow you to show non-intrusive pop-up messages without interfering with the […]

  3. […] popups have been proven effective for many reasons. Studies show that they help improve website conversions by 10-15%. This is because they allow you to show non-intrusive pop-up messages without interfering with the […]

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  15. […] As much as I’d like to chastise this practice I do understand this from a marketer’s standpoint: it works. […]

  16. […] to industry research, 10%-15% of lost visitors can be “saved” by using exit-intent […]

  17. […] and may be using cart abandonment emails to bring back lost traffic. Cart abandonment campaigns and exit-intent technology powering on-site messaging are just two examples of how you can increase the reach of your overall […]

  18. […] but let’s dive into how you can use it. A visitor to your site declines to purchase by leaving. Exit-intent technology allows us to detect this, and offer a “smaller follow-up […]

  19. […] to Bryan Massey, you can convert 10-15% of your lost visitors with exit-intent […]

  20. […] Installing an exit popup works amazingly well, and in fact it can increase your conversions by 10-15%! […]

  21. […] 7 Best Practices for Using Exit-Intent Popovers, Popups […]

  22. […] an article in Conversion Sciences, Brian Massey says, “redirection pop-ups can convert up to 25 percent of lost visitors.” How do we know this? […]

  23. […] As Brian Massey, the renowned conversion specialists and the founder of Conversion Sciences says: […]

  24. […] do your popovers provide most effectively? Test calls to action in exit-intent popovers, entrance popovers, and scroll-triggered overlays can be carried wholesale to the new site. These […]

  25. […] do your popovers provide most effectively? Test calls to action in exit-intent popovers, entrance popovers, and scroll-triggered overlays can be carried wholesale to the new site. These […]

  26. […] on guest post “Can Live Chat Increase Conversions?” Pageviews on guest post “7 Best Practices Using Exit Intent Popovers, Popups“. Guest posts can have a lasting impact on growth of traffic to your […]

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  29. […] are several different techniques that can be used for maximizing your exposure with pop ups, but this is by no means all of what the […]

  30. […] Zajdo, fondatore di OptiMonk e grande esperto in conversioni, ci offre 7 consigli relativi agli Exit Intent Popup. Vediamoli […]

  31. […] popups that appear when people attempt to leave the page have gained popularity in recent years. Brian Massey claims that 10-15% of people about to leave your site will respond to a well-crafted message. The […]

  32. […] After email list building, the most common usage of exit popups is to redirect traffic on your own site. By showing something more interesting to your bored readers, they will get a second chance to convert. For example if you have an ecommerce site, you can use this to show your exiting customers alternative offers. For a content site you can use it to promote your whitepapers, ebooks, etc… Source: 7 Best Practices for Your Exit-Intent Popovers and Popups […]

  33. […] 17. “Use exit-intent popups. Exit-intent popups give you a second chance at communicating something important to your visitors before they leave your site. According to data, 10 to 15 percent of lost visitors can be saved by using exit-intent popups. … Exit-intent popups are the most customer-friendly approach to communicate a special message to your visitors. They are superior to normal popups because they don’t interrupt your visitors while browsing or scanning your site; they only appear when your visitors start to leave your site altogether or switch to another window.” — Brian Massey for Conversion Scientist  […]

  34. […] your website visitors. One of the most effective (and least annoying) types of popup boxes is the exit-intent popup. These boxes appear ONLY when your visitors show some indication that they’re leaving your site […]

  35. […] an exit intent popup to sign people up just before they leave, to enjoy a 10-15% uplift in the […]

  36. […] found an exit intent popover to be one of the best ways to generate leads from our blog traffic. Conversion Scientist Research has shown that 10-15% of visitors who are ready to leave your site can be “saved” with a […]

  37. […] all know about the amazing conversions people are getting with exit intent pop-ups. Don’t just let your new, curious visitors leave your site. Use an exit-intent pop-up like Exit […]

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